Saturday, October 25, 2008

Halloween Costume, wigs and masks

So I've been spending time on my costume for Halloween/Samhain. My friend and I are being porcelain dolls, but with a slight French Victorian feel. Her costume is completely black, whereas mine is all white. I've had to purchase few things for my costume and the most expensive item I had to purchase was a white Marie Antionette wig. My friend is wearing a wavy black wig and a top hat. For her I made an all black fascinator that gets attached to her top hat using purchased and thrifted materials.

I used vintage buttons from my stash, black flowers from the craft store, some thrifted black lace and satin ribbon, large feathers, and marcasite beads.

We are also both wearing masks but since I don't have a hat to get in the way, I decorated the mask to my liking :) I didn't have to purchase anything to make this other than a small fabric mask for $.99 at the costume store. I could have made a mask from scrap using paper mache or something, but I wanted something flexible. As far as the base goes, I altered the shape of the eyes and the outside edge to give it a more feminine shape and allow me to see much better.

I used thrifted lace (one color was tea dyed), pearls, large feathers, silk flowers, pine branches that have been stripped of their bark then sanded and brushed with a little white acrylic paint, hemp string, vintage buttons, and some remnant trim for the edge.

For my costume I chose to wear a large wig instead of having a top hat. Since my wig is a Marie Antoinette styled wig I decided I needed to swank it up a bit.

I purchased the wig at the local costume store. I didn't have to purchase anything new, I already had all the materials which are similar to the ones I used on the mask. There's orchids and roses, pearls, large white feathers, satin ribbon, and a small mushroom bird.

I still have to complete the rest of the costume, I can't wait!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dark fall scented oils

Today was a pretty lazy day. I slept a while and had strangely vivid dreams. Last night I had a dream involving my old dog, Sam, who passed away 4 or 5 years ago from cancer. Whenever he shows up in my dreams I know two things; that I need to pay attention to what the dream tells me and the dream is going to be violent and crazy. In any dream he's in he provides comfort and solace and he acts like a guardian. It's nice to see him so happy again, with his big brown eyes.
Other than having meaningful dreams I've been lounging around mostly today and poking at the occasional project. Mostly I'm concerned about getting my Halloween costume finished so I've been focused on that. I did take some time today to work on two more oils that I wanted to try. I wanted a dark and full scent and the two I worked on both remind me of the deep mossy crunchy leaves and crisp air of fall.

This oil makes me think of Voodoo, dark and sultry but filled with power. It has fresh Rosemary, Cloves, Orange peel, ground Nutmeg, Cherry bark, and whole Allspice. The scent of the cloves is full and sharp and it lingers in your nose. The cherry bark gives it a bit of earthy sweet, while the dried orange peel gives it a small citrus bite. I love this one, can't wait to see how it turns out.

Now this one is a different kind of dark. It reminds me of a sleeping serpent, slow but strong and slithering through tall grass. It has heaps of Green Tea, Jasmine flowers, Valerian root, Yellow Mustard seed, and Anise. The licorice note of the Anise and the awkward soury sweet of the Valerian root make this scent a little lighter. I'm excited about this one too.

Once again, both the bases of these oils are Safflower oil. I use it because it's odorless, colorless, and rich in vitamin E :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Scented Oil and rants.

Yesterday was a "me" day. I ran some really fun errands to two thrift stores and the global market. The global market in this area is all Hispanic and Asian foods and it's a treasure trove for herbs. Yesterday I picked up some Safflower oil, Mullein, Hibiscus, Lavender, Rose petals, and a huge bundle of fresh Rosemary all for a ridiculously reasonable price. Within a 20 mile radius there are only 2 pagan stores. I'm familiar with the owner of one since she was a regular installment at the bookstore I worked at a few years ago. She's the High Priestess of her own coven and tradition and while she's an alright woman she seems like the "crafting only for money" type of gal which is really disappointing. It doesn't matter if I agree with her coven's tradition and beliefs because I'm not a part of it. But the only way to become High Priestess in her tradition is to pay for each step and class, and her prices are not cheap. I think you should earn money for your coven in different ways. But that's just me. Anyway, the point of me talking about this is because I think a lot of pagans get all their supplies from specialty stores. I'm definitely more on the frugal end of things preferring to shop at thrift stores for bowls and containers and such and global markets for herbs. I also grow my own Lavender but its flowering season was over which is why I needed to get some. I only go to the pagan store for things I can't get, like Frankincense or Dragon's Blood or something. I enjoy the thrill and hunt for new things at the thrift store, so I suppose I'm predetermined for it or something.
Anyway, today I decided to work on a scented oil. I wanted it to be flowery but earthy as well. So I added a ton of lovely herbs for just that. I used Rose, Red Sandalwood, fresh Rosemary, Mullein, Hibiscus, Frankincense I then stuck them in a jar with some safflower oil since it has no scent and its rich in vitamin E :). Also despite being slightly windy outside it was still a lovely day so I did all my work outside, to the chagrin of a nosy neighbor who I told I was making potpourri for my mother.
I live in a very uptight neighborhood who frowns upon difference. If you want to plant something new in your front yard, you have to make a request to the Home Owners Assosciation in order to do so. So everything I plant is in the back :).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Spider webbed purse

Didn't get much done today. Woke up extremely late and didn't even make it to the pharmacy to fill a prescription before it closed. But it turns out I had left the prescription at home anyway, so ugh. I still have a ton of art work to finish and haven't even started it. I should move to a plane of existence that has 35 hours in a day because I'd find stuff to fill all the time up. I made up my lack of prescription-filling by purchasing some wonderfully smelling candles. Pumpkin spice is the name and they smell goood. I did however make this bag a week or so ago and have neglected to photograph it until today. It looks bulgy because all my stuff is in it. The fabric used to make the bag are both remnants I had lying around. The spidery outside being a wimpy cotton spidery Halloween print and the lining being a stiffer olive and brown upholstery material to give the bag some structure.

The image is one I got from Sexy Witch which is a great site. It has images of witches from before 1800 until now. It's such a great resource but also fun to poke around. I saved more than a few images :) This specific witch was for a pantyhose ad from the 20's. I did some color editing on it and removed the logo. I then printed the image on some iron on transfer paper, then ironed it onto some muslin and stitched it to the bag.

The construction of the bag is just a simple tote since I wasn't in the mood to spend years making something sassy. I did line it with one large pocket and a smaller pen pocket since writing utensils always find their way to the black hole at the bottom of my bag. Here you can see the same nylon velcro wallet I've had since around 1997. It's still going strong. Okay okay enough stalling, I have work to do :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cold Leaves and Moss Terrariums

It's been a crazy few days. Went to see Doug Stanhope in Baltimore on Thursday which was really awesome. He's a really vulgar comedian that makes hilarious and socially relevant points that you can't help but agree with. Been doing some knitting too and spending some time outside since this is one of the first actually cold days. It actually feels like fall now. The air has a cold bite to it and the sun has been mostly overcast which cast a cool light on all my photos. Normally I touch them up a wee bit but it was unnecessary. Today felt like an outside craft day so I decided to try my hand at a moss terrarium. Basically what a terrarium does is provide a mini ecosystem for the plant. It creates its own humidity within a container. I used a good sized glass jar from the thrift store. It's always handy to pick up jars if they're large and cheap especially since I find uses for them all the time.
First I cleaned the entire interior of the jar with some bleach since you want to deter mold as much as possible. Then I put a layer of small gravel rocks, about an inch high, on the bottom of the jar to produce drainage. I got the moss from my backyard. I dug it up using a trowel and got the dirt from the same place as the moss. Something about the acidity in the dirt.

Then you water it but not too much. And that's pretty much it, or so says the internet. I really hope it goes well, because I'd love to do a Venus fly trap terrarium as well. When I lived in an apartment by myself about 3 years ago I had several Venus fly traps but I could never keep them alive because I didn't know the best way to regulate their moisture. I tried a lot of things and most of them failed. Now I'm excited at the prospect of such compact and easy container gardening.

Look at how beautiful that moss looks with all those little leaves. So neat.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Altoid Tin Travel Sewing Kit

This was a quick project. I originally had one of those tiiiiny travel sewing kits that they gave out at hotels a skillion years ago along with tiny soaps and single serve cotton balls. So using some scrapbook paper I had lying around I decided to jump on the Altoid tin bandwagon and make myself a swankier travel sewing kit that wouldn't take up too much room. I actually already carried an Altoid tin in my purse but it just held band-aids instead of anything useful.
I attached a piece of felt to the top to hold the needles and maybe the safety pins if I feel really organized. There's still a few band-aids in there, some buttons, a spare bobbin with a bunch of black thread on it, a small set of travel scissors, and the tiny file that came with the original sewing kit. Figured it might come in handy. The insides are also lined with some random black scrap cotton to reduce the clonking around sound as much as possible. I found another tin lying around from a pack of Camel Izmir Stingers from when I had money and decided I'd spend the $4.35-ish a pack cause they tasted slightly sweet. But anyway, all the fancy Camel cigarettes came in these metal tins that are more square in shape than the Altoid tins, but equally as reconstructable.
I'll figure out a crafty use for the Camel tin eventually.

Herbs and honey

So I didn't have the fortitude to work on any art projects for school since most of them are very large and expend lots of energy and I'm still sick so I tried an experiment instead. I've grown tired of most of the incense I have since a lot of it smells like crap. Also I have a lot of the stick incense and the burning of the stick adds a strange undertone to a lot of the otherwise pleasant smells. Being currently congested I can't really smell much, so I picked some of the strongest smelling herbs and resins I had lying around and ground them up using my mortar and pestle. I chose Frankincense, Anise, Rosemary, and some Red Sandalwood. Normally at that point I would throw the lose herbs in a small resealable plastic bag, but I decided to put my creative hat on. I stirred them up with a few tablespoons of honey from my grandfather's bees and then smooshed them into little pellets.
Now the theory is that if I leave them sit on their wax paper for a little while, the honey should harden a bit which would make the pellets more convenient than burning loose incense. Or they could burn the same way cones do. Either way I'm excited.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Spooky bird house

I thought I'd share a picture of some of my Samhain/Halloween decorations. I picked up some Calla lilies at the supermarket as well. Their thick waxy stems and large pitcher like blooms were too pretty to pass up.
I managed through coughs and sniffles and wooziness to finish my spooky bird house today. Finishing this up made me feel better but I gave it a really half hearted effort. I really just wanted to finish it and hang it up so I can move on to another project. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy making the birdhouse, I just became very tired very quickly. I had to blow the dust off the wood while sanding it and I nearly fainted because I guess no oxygen got to my sick brain.

I ended up hammering my thumb a few times punching holes in the bottom of the coffee can so the birdies feet don't get wet if it rains. I always do that. Also the kooky looks from the neighbors didn't help as I was bundled up in a hooded sweatshirt coughing with 3 inch bags under my eyes while scavenging for sticks and twigs in thick Pine and Silver maple trees and then later hammering a coffee can in my back yard. I suppose that would seem strange.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Under the weather.

So I've been feeling slightly under the weather today. By slightly I mean a perpetually runny face accompanied by sneezing in succession for minutes at a time. There's also the yummy cough. All of this could be attributed to the changing weather or being around sick friends. So today my creativity has been confined to mostly computer work.

Did some collage/scrapbook things. Used a few of my own images and other various free stock images. I needed some new wall art anyway that was seasonal.

Also continued work on a bird house. It's still a work in progress though. Used one of these clever bird house fronts that attaches itself to the open end of a coffee can via a cut channel on the back of the wooden birdhouse front.

Spooky, no? Can't wait to throw some paint on it.

I'll leave you with a picture of the grass.

Fairy Doors

These projects are old but I thought they still required some face time. They are both fairy doors which create a small portal to the fairy world.

The first fairy door is the entrance to a potion shop. Most of the materials were scavenged from the back yard. The door is made from carved popsicle sticks that have been stained and the "nails" in the door are straight pins used for sewing that I actually hammered into the popsicle sticks so other than adding charm. The stones are not tiny pebbles but small pieces of Frankincense resin. The moss upon the twigs and roof is Mugwort, cut and sifted so it no longer resembles itself. The portico shingles are made from the individual pine cone... barbs? Not sure exactly what to call them. But they are difficult to remove off the cone. Gotta wiggle them back and forth a lot. The tiny broom is a twig and raffia bound by copper wire. The "Potions and Brews" sign is made from popsicle sticks that have been painted. The little hanging cauldron next to the "Potions and Brews" sign is a plum colored glass bead wrapped with copper wire. The lantern to the right of the door is a wooden bead that I hand painted, a black and blue pearlized vintage button, and black wire. The door handle, made from copper wire, is functional yet the door is not. Well, at least not for someone of my size.

The second is a small fairy pirate door. The door is a carved piece of balsa wood. It has been stained. The "glass" in the porthole window is a piece of plastic that was colored with a yellow permanent marker. The wire around the window is held in by straight pin "nails". Door handle is a green branch that was allowed to dry in a curved shape. Hemp twine is around the handle. The rocks around the door are pieces of blue sea glass. On the rocks are "barnacles" which are glass beads. The ones with their heads poking out are filled with hot glue and then painted. The sail portico is from a cardboard toilet paper roll, as well as the sign. The chandelier has a seashell and real candles on it. I hand dipped them with hemp twine as the wick using a ton of scrap wax I have lying around.


Late Latin anathemat-, anathema, from Greek, thing devoted to evil, curse, from anatithenai to set up, dedicate, from ana- + tithenai to place, set — more at do

1 a: one that is cursed by ecclesiastical authority b: someone or something intensely disliked or loathed —usually used as a predicate nominative 2 a: a ban or curse solemnly pronounced by ecclesiastical authority and accompanied by excommunication b: the denunciation of something as accursed c: a vigorous denunciation : curse

Stemming from sleepless nights spent creating various things until the wee hours of daybreak, yet somehow still managing to maintain a relatively moderate social life, professional work as an Art Director/art slave, and full time studentry.

1. a: artistic outlet and personal window for the crafty musings of said blogger.

So it's basically a personal blog. Why Anathemum? Firstly, my Yaya(grandmother in Greek) uses it occasionally in casual conversation and the word always stuck out to me. B, Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchet. And thirdly, the word feels good rolling off the tongue.

Here's a random picture of a small curio shelf in my room with a fun gold mirror behind it. A few of my teapots as well as some lavender from the garden reside there. I thought it was eye-catching and therefore worth sharing.

Questions? Answers!